Halo & Horns’ story started in 2014, when Michelle Carr’s son was born 10 weeks premature. Needing to protect his sensitive skin, she began researching the benefits of bamboo.
“When you’re a mum of a premmie, you start thinking, what am I going to dress him in?” she said. “He was so small – what clothes was he going to fit in? Everything we touched seemed too itchy or not soft enough. All you’ve got is time on your hands while they are in the hospital, so we started to research, which is when we found the benefits of organic cotton and bamboo.”
During her research it occurred to Michelle that there was a gap in the market for affordable – and stylish – bamboo clothing for babies. “We couldn’t afford to buy anything that we found – it was really expensive. And what was available wasn’t really our style.”
Coming from a background in media and communications working remotely for corporate clients, the leap into creating and designing baby clothes was a world apart for Michelle.
However her desire to change the market saw her jump at the idea quickly, and the first shipment of stock arrived soon after in July 2015. The brand, known then as Bambooloui, was born. Michelle initially started selling online through an e-commerce store, and became a regular stall holder at The Village Markets in Burleigh.
In a stroke of good fortune in the brand’s early days, prominent Gold Coast fitness figure, Ashy Bines, was the first influencer to jump on the Bambooloui bandwagon. “Ashy loved our products, and she and her best friend often dressed their babies in our bamboo clothing, so her support really helped launch us to a big market.”
With her husband working in Coolangatta, his persistence in selling Coolangatta as the ultimate suburb to set up shop finally paid off, and Michelle established a pop up store at The Strand at Coolangatta in the lead up to Christmas 2016. Within a year, she has moved to a permanent tenancy and has relished in the increased foot traffic as interest in the product grows.
Her husband’s background in Arts & Education, coupled with the creativity of her two daughters who are 12 and 16, means the creative side of the business is a family affair. The Halo & Horns logo was designed by Michelle’s eldest daughter and the whole family has input on the designs of any new range.
However, Michelle is the driving force of this now booming business. “This is what I am doing every day, I’m constantly researching and seeing where we go next with our range.”
Having relaunched as Halo & Horns in 2017, Michelle said the focus will remain on bamboo, but it allows her to explore other organic cotton and eco-friendly textiles for their designs.
“Our whole business culture is designed around comfort and textiles and fabrics that are good for the skin and good for the environment,” she said. It’s seen them add a range of comfortable clothes for mums alongside their babywear.
“People want to be more environmentally conscious and our entire range and styles are designed to be wash and wear – and last, which is unheard of for baby clothes.
“They’re also trans-seasonal because of the nature of the bamboo fabric. Bamboo breathes, so it’s cool in summer and warm in winter.
“Our shoppers can shop smart – they can wear it from season to season. It’s the exact opposite of fast fashion because even as the kids grow bigger, they can still wear the same piece. We tell everyone to upsize everything – they can wear it now as a baggy look with a rolled sleeve or a rolled leg, and next season it can be a three-quarter top or pants.”
Despite defying retail logic, the strategy of less is more has actually done wonders for Michelle. “We still attract our customers back because they want another style in a new colour or our next season’s design – not because the clothes aren’t lasting.
“It’s the longevity and the value which is the reason our customers love it.”
The full Halo & Horns range can be found instore at The Strand at Coolangatta and online at www.bambooloui.com.au